Monday, June 19, 2006
First there was a silent cackle, barely audible. Then it became louder and louder. I thought I was dreaming, but it was no dream. Baby Sunny was crying, not howling and shrieking, but a soft cry, carrying with it the sounds of innocence and a slight wheezing. Something was wrong, that much I knew. Perhaps he was hungry, perhaps he wet himself, perhaps he was uncomfortable, perhaps he was ill, perhaps he was cold, perhaps he was hot. Perhaps, perhaps…
3.24am. Time to get up, open tired eyes and get ready for baby action. It turned out he was hungry, and had wet himself, and also pooed too. A couple of spoonfuls of powder, 90ml of lukewarm water, a little shake of the baby bottle, and his dose of nutrition was ready. He gobbled it down quickly, sucking on the rubber tit with an expression of satisfaction and joy. A couple of times he took too much into his little mouth all at once, and trails of white streams flowed down the corners of his little lips. Quickly a stand-by piece of cloth for wiping his drool was called into action. He continued sucking, drinking, his cheeks expanding and contracting, his eyes closing and opening as he devoured the juice of life.
I looked at him, my heart filled with a strange sense of pleasure that this little curios creature before me was under my care. Behind the responsibilities and worries lies the satisfaction in knowing that I am helping, if only a little bit, to nature and care for this fragile little baby. Again he took my finger and held it tightly in his hand; sometimes tightening his grip, as he needed the assurance that he was not alone; sometimes letting go, as if he was trying to prove that he was ready to take on the world by himself. In his clear pupils I could see my own reflection. And in him, in his voice, his movements I saw my reflection. Once I was like him, once I was so in need of love and care. Correction. We are born and are in constant need of love and care.
He burped as the bottle was taken out of his mouth. A few pats on the back, to prevent him from choking, to help him swallow better, and prevent him from throwing up…but also partly to praise and commend him for the joy he brought to our lives, and the joy we feel as he drank his way to growth and health. Like always after his dose, he looked drunk, with his arms outstretched, eyes rolling, lips slightly parted, wheezing ever so slightly. Drunk with pleasure, with contentment, with perhaps the discovery what a wonderful world of pampering and love this is for a newborn…
Next on the agenda was to clear up the mess Baby Sunny had made. I laid him on his nappy changer, and softly stripped away the layers of clothing that wrapped around him. He wriggled and danced on his back, as if it was a game of tickle and wriggle, his feet kicked and little arms swayed in the air, trying to catch invisible butterflies. And he laughed, chuckled, smiled and giggled, with such purity, without a trail of pretence.
The nappy was wet and soiled. Smelly too. Gently I peeled it from beneath him, and quickly put a new one under his tiny bum. If I had been any slower, a slush of brown would have trickled down his bum and onto the towel he was lying on. Quickly I pulled wet tissues from the box and tried to catch the exiting deposits, but more squeezed their way through, to the accompanying sound of farting. He continued giggling, smiling, wriggling and dancing. There’s no shame in farting, no shame in soiling yourself; not when you are still so small and innocent.
Suddenly a jet spewed into the air, spraying on his clothes and my busy hands. Emergency! Another tuck at the tissue box and quickly I covered his hose to prevent rain falling wildly all around us. He continued giggling, smiling, wriggling and dancing, not a worry in the world, just living from one moment to the next, experiencing this magical new gift he so recently received: the gift of life. Desperate situation called for desperate measures. Away the old nappies and tissues went into the bin, and away the wet clothes and towels went into the hamper. A fresh start, a fresh try in trying to change Baby Sunny into clean and dry clothes.
I closed the window to prevent the night draught from chilling Baby Sunny. It was a struggle at first putting his nappy and clothes on. Gently I took ahold of both feet and held them up, while sliding the new nappy underneath. I was inexperienced, new, and learning, as much as he was. Clumsily I felt my way around the nappy, trying to find out how this incredible invention works. Finally I found the seals that would prove vital in sealing off the toxic wastes and gasses. I gave them a gentle pull and stuck the lycra parts on the front of the nappy, just underneath the picture of a little smiling duckling swimming happily in a clear pond. Nappy done, and now the rest.
From the cupboard I got out some of his soft linen. They smelt wonderful, like the smell of fresh roses, spring air and morning dew. Especially his fragile little arm I was afraid to break as I tried to pull it through the sleeve. I held his hand lightly, and as if he felt I was initiating our usual game of grip-my-finger, he closed his hand around my finger tightly. Using the opportunity, I jerked his arm ever so lightly and managed to free it from the tangled sleeves, out to freedom. Much the same struggle with his other arm and feet. But in the end was a clean and fresh smelling baby, lying there before me, kicking and waving, giggling and smiling.
Mummy slept on. We tried not to disturb her, and let her sleep, for she has done too much already.
But so many things happened as she had her back turned toward us. So many things between Baby Sunny and me.